Adaptive radiation and evolutionary stasis are characterized by very different evolution rates. The main aim of this study was to investigate if any genes have a special role to a high or low evolution rate. The availability of animal genomes permitted comparison of gene content of genomes of 24 vertebrate species that evolved through adaptive radiation (representing high evolutionary rate) and of 20 vertebrate species that are considered as living fossils (representing a slow evolutionary rate or evolutionary stasis). Mammals, birds, reptiles, and bony fishes were included in the analysis. Pathway analysis was performed for genes found to be specific in adaptive radiation or evolutionary stasis respectively. Pathway analysis revealed that DNA repair and cellular response to DNA damage are important (false discovery rate = 8.35 x 10.sup.-5; 7.15 x 10.sup.-6, respectively) for species evolved through adaptive radiation. This was confirmed by further genetic in silico analysis (p = 5.30 x 10.sup.-3). Nucleotide excision repair and base excision repair were the most significant pathways. Additionally, the number of DNA repair genes was found to be linearly related to the genome size and the protein number (proteome) of the 44 animals analyzed (p Keywords: Genomics, Evolutionary genetics, Natural selection, Rapid evolution, Speciation, Mutagenesis rate, Evolutionary medicine, Molecular evolution
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